After many years of travels and many days spent in the world's finest hotels, I believe that a luxurious stay is all about exclusivity, tranquility and heartfelt service - The Ritz-Carlton brand epitomizes this. So last weekend, we opted to experience their property in Bahrain.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain is beautifully located on a 20-acre of private beachfront swept around a picturesque lagoon in Seef District. Its outstanding location helped create an environment with a personality of its own, something that cannot be replicated.
My first impression of the hotel usually begins the moment I reach the valet / drop off area or once I enter the lobby. But this time it's different. As soon as we approached the hotel property, we immediately felt the exclusivity of the place. Two men wearing black suits together with three security officers, welcomed and greeted us in the hotel's main gate. Just like any other guests in The Ritz-Carlton, we were politely requested to go through a rigorous security check and once completed, only then we were welcomed to continue our way inside.
Valet parking service in The Ritz Carlton is free for all in-house guests. But since we always go for valet parking whenever we stay in a hotel, Rock Licker opted to do self-parking just for a change. Luckily, because the hotel has large parking lot, we didn't have a hard time finding a space to park our car even if it's weekend.
The hotel's main lobby is just a few steps away from the parking area. When we reached the main door, Ritz-Carlton's enthusiastic door staff welcomed and greeted us with a warm and sincere smile on their faces. Upon entering the door, we underwent another security inspection and x-ray before we proceeded to the lobby.
As we walked towards the grand lobby, we were blown away by it’s soaring ceiling with glass dome, bright white atrium and black marble wall surrounding the large classic elevators. The lobby is beautifully adorned with white and blue flower arrangements in one side and a gold statue in the middle. We sat in one corner of the lobby which has an ample seating for guests. While waiting for our appointment, the Guest Relations Officer introduced herself and pleasantly engaged with us. It was only a short exchange of pleasantries, but we were touched by her charming and sincere demeanour. Having a decade of experience in a 5-Star airline that focuses heavily on hospitality and customer service, I can easily tell from the first few moments of interaction if the staff is genuine, represents the brand well and brings it to life.
After a while, we decided it's time to get our room. We went up to the Club Lounge located on the 7th floor to take advantage of the personalized check-in which is one of the benefits of being a Club guest. When we get to the Club Lounge, the lady who's in-charge at the lounge desk welcomed and greeted us, and then the lady who works in the F&B, joyfully ushered us inside the lounge for a comfortable wait and succulent breakfast.
Immediately, we were treated to the spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf, hotel's private island, yacht club, garden and swimming pool through the huge glass windows. It was absolutely one of the best views that I've ever seen!
After savoring the view, we decided to sit in the library area. As we were settled in our seats, the lady in the desk came to us to introduce herself and took our passports for an express check-in. After the registration, she came back to inform us that our room was not ready yet. We told her it's okay and we will happily wait. Actually, we were too early. We arrived there 10:00 am and their standard check-in time is 12:00 pm.
The Club Lounge features minimalist and contemporary style. It's light, spacious and cozy. Plus, the white and blue colour of the walls and the chairs added up to a calm and refreshing feel.
There are four culinary presentations at the Club Lounge throughout the day that includes the following:
Breakfast 6:30 am - 11:00 am
Light Snacks 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Hors d’oeuvres 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sweets & Cordials 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm
For 100% leisure stay, it's best to book a suite with club access and just enjoy all the club benefits.
Just when our Club Suite was ready, we received a very generous surprise upgrade into a Diplomatic Suite. We were also offered to view both suites and the villa and it made us even happier!
The Club Suite has a sleek and modern design that includes large living room, bedroom, separate soaking bathtub and rainforest shower area, walk-in closet and powder room.
The living room is furnished with two seater sofa, side table and rectangular coffee table. It features 42-inch LED TV and coffee and tea making faciltiies.
The bedroom has one king size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and pilows. It has large workstation and floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful view of the bay and the city. Additionally, it features 42-inch LED TV, an iPod docking station, BOSE alarm clock radio and dual phone line with personal voicemail.
The bathroom is smartly laid out and spacious with private toilet room, dedicated bath tub, separate rain shower room and single sink with vanity, 15-inch flat-screen TV and full set of high quality Asprey toiletries.
The walk-in closet is equipped with garment drawers and shelves. It has in-room safe, bath robes, slippers, clothes hangers, shoe tray and laundry bags.
The powder room has lighted mirror, wash basin, toilet and bidet, accent vase, hand towels and basic toiletries.
After viewing the Club Suite, we took a golf buggy going to hotel's private island where all the villas are beautifully perched. The Villa is Caribbean-inspired and includes private pool with patio, large living room, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths with bathtubs and showers, office / library, powder room and kitchen.
The villa's private pool is good for doing laps and its perfect location allows guests to enjoy the relaxing view of the ocean. Next to the pool is a covered patio, a nice spot to sit and relax after a great swim.
The living room has a tropical design and is furnished with colourful sofas, side tables, coffee table, wall-mounted bookshelves, ceiling fans and floor lamp.
The dining area has a stunning pool and ocean view. It is furnished with side boards, planters, lamps and a set of long table and chairs that can sit up to 12 people.
The master's bedroom features a floor-to-ceiling window with an amazing ocean view. It has one king size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and pillows. It also has a receiving area, workstation, TV cabinet and side tables. The master's bedroom features 42-inch LED TV, an iPod docking station, BOSE sound system, BOSE alarm clock radio and telephone line.
The bathroom is my favourite part of the villa. It has a private toilet room, dedicated bath tub, Large-screen LED TV, separate rain shower room with jets and single sink with vanity and full set of luxurious Asprey brand bath amenities.
The second bedroom has one queen size plush feather bed with fine 600-thread count cotton linens and comfortable duvet and plush pillows. It is furnished with side tables, accent tables and chairs, TV stand, telephone, LED TV, BOSE speakers and wardrobe cabinet.
The third bedroom is similar to the second bedroom, the only difference is the bed. This one has twin bed.
Toilet and bath for bedrooms 2 and 3 are also the same. It has natural stone tiles, single sink vanity, bathtub with shower and full set of Asprey toiletries.
The office / library allows guests to manage their business and still be productive during their stay. It has computer desktop, printer, telephone line, work desk and chair.
After visiting the Club Suite and the Villa, we proceeded to our upgraded suite, the Diplomatic Suite. It is AWESOME! It has an absolute elegance in every details and everywhere there are excellent touches. Classic wooden writing desk with bronze table lamp and china vase display is beautifully placed near the bed. The plush feather bed with 600-thread count cotton linens looks lovely with its matching yellow floral headboard and bedskirt. The damask bedroom wall exudes refinement and prettily attached to it is a pair of adjustable reading lamps that gives emphasis to its elegance. There's also a pair of vintage bedside tables and neo-classical glass lamps on top of it. If the bedroom looks beautiful in picture, it is much more so in reality.
As I continue to explore the bedroom, I was thrilled to find Patchi bars on my side table. A sweet and delicious welcome treat from The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain!
While I was taking pictures, Rock Licker was on the bed busy browsing the in-suite dining menu .
This is the view from our spacious balcony - fountain, pond, lush garden, private island and the Arabian Gulf. Isn't it so lovely?
Adjacent to the bedroom is the living area. It is attractively furnished with stylish sofas, decorative fringe pillows, coffee table, side table, planter and floral carpet.
There's also a display cabinet that holds the crystal glasses, ice bucket and tong, red wine and mini bar menu. Next to it is a small table for the coffee and tea facilities.
Moving on the other side of the suite, there's another living room with dining area that spans half of the Diplomatic Suite. This one is furnished with sofas with yellow and white damask design, decorative pillows with twisted cords, square coffee table, side table, TV and stand, chinese rug and a massive China display cabinet showcasing wide array of exquisite antique vases and shiny crystal glasses.
The lavish dining area has round table and four neo-classical chairs with antique studs and fluted legs. Right beside it is a rosewood console table with dark granite top which serves as platform for the beautiful China porcelains. There's also an accent mirror wall that creates an illusion of an even larger space and attached to it is a nice wall frame.
Look how happy he is. His food arrived quickly!
He ordered chicken biryani with papadom and dipping yogurt.
The mirrored walk-in closet has lots of drawers and shelves where weighing scale, shoe tray, flashlight, in-room safe, hangers and laundry bag are located.
In front of the walk-in closet is the vanity table with mirror and chair. There's also a classic wooden coat hanger with shoe mitt, shoe polisher, wooden shoe brush and sewing kit.
This is my favourite part of the suite. A luxury bathroom is every girl’s dream. Marbled walls and floors, spacious bathtub with jets, expansive mirror, vanity mirror, double wash basins, Asprey bath amenities, separate rain shower with jets and a private toilet (with bidet) room. It's a little piece of heaven on Earth!
The bathrobes bearing the Ritz Carlton logo and the towel racks that's loaded with different types of towels are placed outside the shower room.
For long staying guests, they can take advantage of having a small kitchen in the convenience of their own suite. During our stay, we preferred to eat at the restaurant and at the Club Lounge that's why we were not able to use this.
Outside the kitchen is the powder room with a single sink vanity, mirror and toilet.
After taking photos of the suite, we went to The Spa to experience The Ritz-Carlton's signature spa treatments. Upon arrival at The Spa, the staff greeted us and directed us to the waiting area. As soon as we were seated, our therapists approached us and politely introduced themselves. They handed us hot towels and served us with hot ginger tea and nuts. After that, they asked us to fill out the consultation form so that they could bring attention to any of our specific concerns or conditions. When everything was ready, they guided us to the couple's massage room.
As we entered the room, we were astonished to see the floor and the bed sprinkled with fresh rose petals. This one deserved to be photographed, so we asked the therapists if we can take a photo and they gladly said yes.
Right after taking a photo, they asked us to wash up and wear our bathrobes.
The one that I tried is the On the Banks of the Dead Sea treatment, while Rock Licker chose the Secrets of the Argan treatment. The Banks of the Sea is a 90-minute treatment using highly re-mineralizing and detoxifying ingredients to renew and soften the skin. It includes a Dead Sea salt scrub, Dead Sea mud full body wrap and full body massage. On the other hand, Secrets of the Argan is a 90-minute treatment using a selection of Arabic ingredients to deeply cleanse and gently remove impurities from the skin surface whilst strengthening the benefits of the Argan oil leaves the skin nourished and hydrated. This treatment includes crushed Argan shells body exfoliation, Ghassoul mud wrap, scalp massage and application of Argan oil.
After the treatment, they gave us 15 minutes rest before taking a shower.
For me and Rock Licker, the experience induced to us a deep sense of relaxation and left us feeling very peaceful and calm. It was terrific!
Club Lounge at Night
After having our spa treatments, we headed back to the Club Lounge. As usual, I was engrossed in taking photos while Rock Licker enjoyed drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.
Voila! There he is. I left him on the other side of the lounge and this time he is in the media room.
I could say that I'm quite impressed with this Club Lounge. While some Club Lounge are only good at serving breakfast, The Ritz Club Lounge offers quality food, cozy ambiance and extraordinary service from morning until evening.
Come dinnertime, we went to Primavera, the only Italian restaurant in the Gulf region with 100% all-Italian crew.
The restaurant exudes stylish, upbeat and inviting atmosphere which is perfectly in tune with the Italian's energetic personality.
We sat near the glass window and almost instantly, we were presented the menu. Everything on their menu seems to be delicious so we asked for recommendation and the exuberant restaurant manager, Beatrice Manno suggested to us the degustation, which is basically sampling small portions of all the chef's signature dishes in one sitting.
Primavera's Chef Armando Aristarco served us almost everything from the menu and it was absolutely an explosion in the mouth! It was like having a food tour all over Italy because of the staple dishes that he prepared for us. Yum!
After our delightful meal, we were also granted the opportunity to take a peek inside the kitchen. Thanks to Primavera's gracious Chef who personally toured us around his workplace.
In one corner of the kitchen, we spotted the motto posted on the wall. It is certainly a highly practical and essential advice to all the people working in the kitchen. From now on, this will be Rock Licker's motto too!
And then, we came across with this guy who genuinely takes pride in his work. Great job!
After our delightful dinner at Primavera, we decided to take a stroll around the hotel to burn some calories and take night shots of the property. We came back to our room before midnight.
Diplomatic Suite - Balcony
When I woke up the next morning, I was wondering where is Rock Licker. I found him lounging at the balcony, drinking his coffee and checking emails.
I convinced him to have a full breakfast at the Club Lounge to start the day right. Look at the transformation on his face by just having a scrumptious meal!
After a hearty breakfast, we looked around to see Ritz Carlton's nine restaurants. But during that time, a few of them were not open for lunch. So we ended up checking out La Med, Nirvana, Lobby Lounge, La Plage and Gourmet Lounge.
La Med offers relaxed dining experience in a peaceful setting complemented with extravagant buffet and best culinary team.
Nirvana, on the other hand, is the hotel's Indian restaurant that serves authentic traditional dishes. It has a sophisticated decor and features live music at night.
Lobby Lounge provides guests a wide array of delicious afternoon treats together with relaxing music and beautiful ambience.
Before vacating the suite, the typical Rock Licker wanted to go up to the Club Lounge to maximize our Club access and grab a few bites. So we did and then we went to the lounge desk and handled the checkout procedures. But we weren’t done with The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain yet. We roamed around the hotel property and took photos again to our heart's content.
Water Sports Center
Al Fresco Lounge
The Ritz Gourmet Lounge
And then, we found this -The Ritz Gourmet Lounge, an exquisite cafe with enjoyable chic Parisian ambience.
Aside from its jaw-dropping aesthetic features, the selection of cakes and pastries here was enormous. Overwhelmed by the quantity, we took our time to look through the glass food counter to choose what we really like.
To satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered blueberry cheesecake, grand macaron and caramel eclair. To complement the delicious pastries, we had red rose juice and earl gray tea.
We spent a good two hours lounging in this posh cafe. We then, ask one of the staff to issue us the bill. After a couple of exchange, we became comfortable with each other. Out of his generosity, he served us mixed nuts while waiting for our appointment. I started to remember my good old flying days and mentioned to him that it's the same thing I normally serve for the airline passengers. He instantly got interested which airline I worked for. We then found out, we knew each other eight years ago. He was our ground staff trainee and we met a couple times in the airport. During that time, we've connected because he was such a charming person but sadly, he was uncertain about his future career as most of his contemporaries have already landed a job. During those few encounters with him, I tried my best to encourage him and told him that breakthrough will come. Eventually, we lost contact because his training with our company was only for a short period of time.
We were both struck that our paths crossed again and of all the places it's in The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. We were amazed of what he has achieved so far and how he is proud of working for The Ritz-Carlton. Now as a Supervisor at Gourmet Lounge in The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, he is all praises to his current employer as it gave him the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. Truly, The Ritz-Carlton creates wonderful stories not only for their guests, but for their employees as well.
We left The Ritz-Carlton with lots of great memories from its amazing facilities, impeccable service, delightful cuisine and caring staff. Thank you The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain for the incredible experience! We will definitely keep coming back!